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Three Canberra Raiders NRL players have refused vaccination as code considers banning them

Iosia Soliola (pictured with wife Gemma Soliola) will not receive the flu jab

Three more NRL stars have refused to be vaccinated for influenza as the code considers implementing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ‘no jab, no play’ policy.

Canberra Raiders forwards Josh Papalii, Sia Soliola and Joseph Tapine told their team on Tuesday they would not accept the flu jab on religious grounds.

The trio, who are all Polynesian, were told not to come to training on Wednesday.

The code is requesting all 480 players across 16 clubs receive the influenza vaccine ahead of the May 28 season restart, but it is currently not mandatory. 

Following player backlash, Mr Morrison suggested not allowing players to return without the jab, which would essentially rub out any star refusing to vaccinate for the rest of the 2020 season.

NRL’s governing body will meet on Thursday morning to discuss the policy.  

Regardless of the outcome, the trio will likely be granted permission to play because their refusal is based on their religion, which does not allow them the flu shot. But players who refuse on ethical or moral grounds may find themselves on the sidelines.

The hardline stance comes as authorities work to reboot the game in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, which has infected 6,875 people in Australia and killed 97.

Each of the Raiders players were reportedly given a waiver to sign following their refusal to immunise, but crossed out a line accepting they would be at greater risk as a result of their decision.  

The couple pictured at an engagement party prior to coronavirus lockdown

The couple pictured at a wedding prior to lockdown

Canberra Raiders forward Joseph Tapine (pictured with his wife, Kirsten Tapine) was among three players in his club to refuse the vaccination

Father-of-two Josh Papalii (pictured with his wife) has refused the influenza vaccine

Father-of-two Josh Papalii (pictured with his wife) has refused the influenza vaccine 

Gold Coast Titans backrower Bryce Cartwright reportedly crossed out the same line in his own waiver.

The Canberra Raiders are expected to seek an exemption which would allow the players to train on Thursday until the board comes to a decision regarding the flu jab.

The NRL executive team could overrule the current protocol, which allows players to train and compete without the shot if they have signed a waiver.

Mr Morrison believes this is the best and safest way forward for the game. 

‘When I was social services minister, I started the ‘no jab, no play’ rule in the childcare facilities,’ Morrison told 2GB radio. 

‘And I think the same rule applies there – no jab, no play.’

NRL star Bryce Cartwright (pictured with his wife Shanelle) has furiously hit out at those who have dubbed him an 'anti-vaxxer' - despite him refusing to undergo the league's compulsory vaccinations

NRL star Bryce Cartwright (pictured with his wife Shanelle) has furiously hit out at those who have dubbed him an ‘anti-vaxxer’ – despite him refusing to undergo the league’s compulsory vaccinations

Cartwright with Shanelle and their son Koa, two. On Tuesday, she wrote an impassioned defence of her opposition to vaccinations - saying she does not even give either of her two children Panadol

Cartwright with Shanelle and their son Koa, two. On Tuesday, she wrote an impassioned defence of her opposition to vaccinations – saying she does not even give either of her two children Panadol

Cartwright, who has been vocal about his decision not to immunise himself or his two toddler children, described the potential move as ‘coercion’. 

‘Giving us the ultimatum of get the shot or be stood down is coercion, and leaking private medical information, well that’s illegal,’ he wrote on Instagram on Wednesday.

‘As for me being the first and apparently only one declining the shot is bulls***and far from the truth.’ 

His wife Shanelle Cartwright revealed on Tuesday she refused to give their children Koa, two, and Naia, one, Panadol as pain relief, let alone get them vaccinated. 

Her stance flies in the face of science and is not only risky to her children, but to the entire community, with vaccinations vital to reducing the spread of transmissible diseases. 

But Rugby League Players Association player director Dale Copley has thrown his support behind Cartwright – saying ‘several’ players have rejected vaccinations.  

‘It’s a crazy issue, it is very divisive [but] I have always been a supporter of freedom of choice and not encroaching on personal liberties,’ he said.

‘I am more than happy for Bryce to make his own decision in that regard.’

As furore about his stance on the vaccinations grows, Cartwright wrote on Instagram saying ‘not once’ had he declared himself to be an anti-vaxxer. 

Cartwright furiously took to Instagram on Wednesday to say 'not once' had he declared himself to be anti-vaccinations

The 25-year-old also refuted the idea the jab was mandatory as part of the NRL's protocols

Cartwright furiously took to Instagram on Wednesday to say ‘not once’ had he declared himself to be anti-vaccinations

Alongside the post, she shared a photo of her footy star husband holding their youngest child

Alongside the post, she shared a photo of her footy star husband holding their youngest child

‘I stand for the freedom to choose what goes into our bodies,’ he wrote. ‘I am pro-choice, pro-informed consent and pro-medical freedom.

‘I have nothing against people who choose to vaccinate… so to label me an ‘anti-vaxxer’ is spreading misinformation.’

He also refuted the idea the jab was mandatory as part of the NRL’s protocols to get the league back on the field.

‘The flu shot is not mandatory in the NRL at the moment. Players have been offered a waiver to sign if we don’t want it,’ he said.

‘I won’t be bullied into making decisions that could impact my health and the health of my family.’

It comes after a high-profile footy WAG claimed a ‘strong core group’ of NRL players are anti-vaxxers who will defy orders from the league to get a flu shot.

Taylor Winterstein is well known for pushing her dangerous anti-vaxxer beliefs.

The wife of former Penrith second-row Frank Winterstein said the number of players refusing the flu jab was ‘more than a handful’ and would ‘seriously surprise you’.

Bryce Cartwright (second from right) returned to training on Monday to prepare for the NRL's return

Bryce Cartwright (second from right) returned to training on Monday to prepare for the NRL’s return

Jade Grant, partner of Canterbury-Bankstown star Sione Katoa (pictured together with their son) has declared herself to be an anti-vaxxer

Jade Grant, partner of Canterbury-Bankstown star Sione Katoa (pictured together with their son) has declared herself to be an anti-vaxxer

On Wednesday, she came out in support of Cartwright.

Also offering Cartwright support was Jade Grant, partner of Canterbury-Bankstown star Sione Katoa, saying she was ‘always standing with you’. 

Daily Mail Australia contacted Katoa’s representatives to clarify if he shared his partner’s dangerous anti-vaxxer views and would refuse to be immunised. 

Vaccinations protect against numerous diseases and there is no evidence they cause harm to those who are injected with them.

‘Yes! Love you guys always standing with you,’ Ms Grant commented on an anti-vaccination post by Cartwright’s wife Shanelle.

Ms Grant re-posted photos by Ms Winterstein and Ms Cartwright expressing similar supportive sentiments, along with a meme mocking flu vaccinations.

‘Trying to figure out how an vaccinated person can give a disease to a vaccinated person if vaccines work…’ the meme caption read.

Ms Grant added: ‘Brains (sic) hurting hard today. If everyone’s got their flu shot, aren’t they protected?’

Taylor Winterstein, wife of former Penrith second-row Frank Winterstein (pictured with their children), said the number was 'more than a handful' and would 'seriously surprise you'

 Taylor Winterstein, wife of former Penrith second-row Frank Winterstein (pictured with their children), said the number was ‘more than a handful’ and would ‘seriously surprise you’

Ms Grant is among several WAGS who have supported Cartwright's refusal to get the flu shot mandated on all clubs by the NRL

Ms Grant is among several WAGS who have supported Cartwright’s refusal to get the flu shot mandated on all clubs by the NRL

Ms Winterstein on Wednesday claimed there were numerous NRL players with the same beliefs.

‘The truth is, there are more than just a handful of us,’ she wrote in a lengthy Instagram post.

‘There is a strong core group of families – current, former and retired NRL players, from all different NRL clubs, who proudly stand for medical freedom and informed consent.’

Ms Winterstein, who has also ridiculously claimed the coronavirus ‘PLANdemic’ is a scam, said she personally knew of many players who opposed vaccinations. 

‘I know these families personally – they’re intelligent, respected, high profile and well-informed when it comes to making educated decisions for their loved ones,’ she wrote.

‘Most of these NRL players and their partners just want to live in peace, and be able to have the freedom to choose what they feel is best for their own children.’

Ms Cartwright on Tuesday claimed her children’s ‘picture of health’ proved she and her husband’s decision not to vaccinate them was working.   

Before vaccination campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s, diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough killed thousands of children, whereas today in Australia, dying from one of these is extremely rare.    

Mrs Cartwright (pictured with her husband) said the couple were doing the best they could for to ensure the health of their children with the knowledge they had at their disposal

Mrs Cartwright (pictured with her husband) said the couple were doing the best they could for to ensure the health of their children with the knowledge they had at their disposal 

WHY VACCINES ARE IMPORTANT

Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them.

Immunisation not only protects individuals, but also others in the community, by reducing the spread of preventable diseases.

Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines.

In Australia, vaccines must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will register them for use. Approval of vaccines can take up to 10 years.

Before vaccines become available to the public, large clinical trials test them on thousands of people.

High-quality studies over many years have compared the health of large numbers of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Medical information from nearly 1.5 million children around the world have confirmed that vaccination does not cause autism.

People first became concerned about autism and immunisation after the medical journal The Lancet published a paper in 1998. This paper claimed there was a link between the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. 

Since then, scientists have completely discredited this paper. The Lancet withdrew it in 2010 and printed an apology. The UK’s General Medical Council struck the author off the medical register for misconduct and dishonesty.

Source: Australian Department of Health 

Cartwright (pictured with his eldest child and wife at his 2018 wedding) faces the risk of a NRL ban due to the couple's controversial stance on vaccinations

Cartwright (pictured with his eldest child and wife at his 2018 wedding) faces the risk of a NRL ban due to the couple’s controversial stance on vaccinations

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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